Rays let one get away late, lose to Blue Jays
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — When Ryan Yarbrough came up short for the Rays on Saturday and failed to get through even four innings, they had to start a parade from the bullpen to the mound.
That path is well traveled, and often successful. The problem is that it requires a higher number of pitchers to be on their game. On this night, J.P. Feyereisen, Colin Poche and Jason Adam all were sharp.
That got the Rays to the eighth inning and to Ryan Thompson, who got a key out in Friday’s win. Saturday, he made a mess, allowing two homers and two singles, leading to four runs.
And that was the difference, as the this Tampa Bay-Toronto battle went to the northerners, 5-1.
For the Rays, it was a disappointing night all around. They managed only five hits and were not sharp in the field, dropping to 20-14. For the 18-16 Jays, it was a chance to smile as they snapped a five-game losing streak that had been their longest in nearly a year.
The Rays were hoping that history — recent and past — would repeat itself for Yarbrough.
That he would be as sharp as he was in his last outing on Sunday in Seattle, working five shutout innings, scattering four hits and a walk.
And that he would be as successful against the Jays as in previous appearances, going 8-2, 3.23 overall in 17 games, and 5-0, 2.42 in nine games at Tropicana Field.
Neither happened, before an announced Star Wars night crowd of 15,195.
Yarbrough labored through a 26-pitch first inning, loading the bases with one out though escaping allowing only one run, and didn’t make it through the fourth.
His final line: 3 2/3 innings, two hits, one run, three walks, two strikeouts and just eight first-pitch strikes to the 18 batters he faced. Plus, he needed 80 pitches to get the 11 outs.
The Jays got their first run when Vlad Guerrero Jr. and Hernandez singled, and Lakewood High product Bo Bichette walked to load the bases. Santiago Espinal delivered a sac fly to center.
The Rays got it right back when Yandy Diaz, who missed Friday’s game with what the team called “a non-COVID illness,” tucked a ball just inside the rightfield foul pole for the fifth leadoff homer of his career.
After grounding out to end the sixth as the Rays wasted a two-on, one-out opportunity, Vidal Brujan made a highlight-worthy catch in rightfield for the second out of the seventh. Brujan raced to right-center then grabbed the ball as he fell backward and into the wall to avoid an equally hard-charging Brett Phillips.